Google Completes Sale of Radio Assets to WideOrbit

Google has offloaded the radio automation technologies that were the backbone of its aborted broadcast radio advertising business. The assets were scooped up by WideOrbit, which offers business management tools to broadcast and cable operators.

PaidContent first reported the companies had reached a deal on the sale of the assets, including Google Radio Automation, which has been renamed WO Automation for Radio. Google’s Maestro and SS32 automation products were also acquired. WideOrbit says its software is used by 1,300 TV stations, radio stations and cable networks globally to manage above $12 billion in ad revenue.

It’s been six months since Google said it would abandon plans to be a major platform for managing terrestrial radio ad inventory, and sell the program’s assets. Among the reasons were a disappointing level of interest from search advertisers, and the resistance of broadcasters who said the system could only make them pennies on the dollar compared with their premium sales. Marketers and broadcasters have confirmed with ClickZ that the inventory tended to consist of late-night ad slots.

The Google Audio Ads and AdSense for Audio programs were shuttered earlier this summer, but as of last February the program still claimed 1,600 radio stations. In its statement this morning, WideOrbit pegged the number at more than twice that.

“We are confident that WideOrbit will make every effort to improve the technology and serve existing customers at the highest possible level,” said a statement from Jim Woods, Director of Product Management at Google.

Google has said it will continue to explore Web-based audio advertising, an area of growing competition. Streaming radio service Pandora Media this week tapped Clear Channel-owned Katz Media to represent in-stream audio ads.

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